Figure, modern, Isis and Horus

Production date
Early 20th Century CE
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Object detail

Pottery figure, representing a seated Isis holding the infant Horus.The fabric is orange with patches of dark grey on the head and legs. The figure wears a moon and horn headdres (tips of both horns broken). The head of the figure has almond shaped eyes, a triangular nose and thin lips. The ears extend in front of a tripartite wig. The arms are thin, with one holding the infant Horus and the other grasping the right breast. The infant Horus is poorly defined. Isis is seated on a wide rectangular throne and wears a long skirt to her ankles, decorated only with a single line between the legs. The feet are well defined and sit on a small pedestal attached to the chair.
CH classification ARCHAEOLOGY Egyptian figure
Production date
Early 20th Century CE
Production place
H126mm x W33mm x D54 mm
Media/Materials description
History and use
In the First World War, many servicemen saw duty in foreign lands, collecting ancient items of material culture and sending these back to loved ones back home.

For the amateur soldier-archaeologist there were many opportunities to secure Egyptian antiquities. A short horse ride with a local guide to a rich gravesite, would secure a dozen scarabs after a few minutes of digging. Curios could be purchased from street sellers, authentic antiquities dug up from the desert sands, or faux objects ‘inspired’ by authentic pieces, such as large scarab paperweights.

Selling replicas as genuine antiquities has been big-business in Egypt for hundreds of years. At the start of the war the trade in Egyptian fake antiquities was large, and proved a decent money earner for street sellers in Egypt. The number of soldiers travelling through or training in Egypt would have been an absolute boon for the souvenir sellers, including those selling ‘genuine’ antiquities and faux objects ‘inspired’ by the genuine antiquities, such as this object.
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